In some of student hostels in Germany, I have seen students booking their washing slots (at the laundry rooms provided by the dorms) via the dorm's website. Say there are 200 students and there are 10 laundromats, a student books his desired slot, money is deduced from the student's prepaid account on confirmation of the slot. During his chosen slot, the student simply goes to laundry room, uses the machine designed to him (informed to the student on confirmation) and washes his laundry.
- Every student books a slot from a different device(their own smartphones, laptops,..)
- The slot management (which machine will be allotted to which student) is decided not by the student
- Assuming the student can access this account using a smartphone app, the app reminds the student of the wash schedule 1 hour before the schedule begins. The app also informs the student when his schedule ends
Now, if I want to replicate such a system for a small dorm of 20 students and 2 laundromats using arduino (even for the sake of argument), how can I proceed?
I can use relays to control the power supply to the machines. With/without RTC I can control for how long the machines can be used during a single wash. But I am confused with the networking part.
case 01 - should/must I use a Raspberry Pi? or case 02 - can I use the wifi shields with arduino and handle the services (like the 3 features mentioned above) using actual web servers? case 03 - Are actual web servers necessary. Why not make use of the local/dorm's wifi network to machines, manage the slots, deduce payment/wash credit?
I would really love to gain some knowledge on this. A little elaboration if possible would be helpful (on which case01/02/03 and why)